Denver Post (lack of) coverage of Colorado Supreme Court criticism draws notice, response
Clear The Bench Colorado has noted for several months now an apparent bias in the Denver Post’s coverage (more accurately, lack of coverage) of the very newsworthy fact that for the first time in over forty (40!) years (since the system of judicial retention – i.e. yes/no – elections in Colorado replaced contested – i.e. competitive – elections for judges) the citizens of Colorado are being provided with substantive information on the performance in office of our Colorado Supreme Court justices – and reasons why voters should strongly consider their removal from office (“vote NO“) this November.
Although the Denver Post did note (accurately) back in February that the Colorado Supreme Court justices (Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and – at the time – Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) subject to being held accountable in November faced a “tough vote” in retention elections, since that time – despite the growing momentum of the judicial accountability movement spearheaded by Clear The Bench Colorado – there’s been scarcely a word in print on the subject. For that matter, there’s been scarce mention of the role of the Colorado Supreme Court in aiding and abetting several highly unpopular (and unconstitutional) legislative and executive actions undermining the constitutional rights of Colorado citizens.
A recent article (“Supreme Court’s temporary digs draw a dart from court critics“) notes that the Post’s coverage of the Colorado Supreme Court (or, more to the point, lack of coverage of any criticism of the court) might be influenced by the fact that the Post is being paid $1.6 million per year as the court’s current landlord:
Might the Colorado Supreme Court wind up with some pretty good press now now that it has set up shop in the Denver Newspaper Agency building, home of the Denver Post, at Colfax and Broadway?
At the end of April, both the Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals moved from their former digs at the state justice center, which is slated to be demolished this year to make way for a new judicial complex. They now occupy two full floors of the DNA building, and hold court on the first floor, right next to Heidi’s Deli.
Of course, the Post’s editors vociferously deny any conflict of interest – editor Greg Moore said it was “ridiculous” to think that the Post would allow $1.6 million a year to influence their coverage, and courts spokesman Rob McCallum asserted that “the court hasn’t gotten any kind of break from the Post.”
Perhaps. On the other hand, the Post’s (lack of) coverage of the Colorado Supreme Court (and absent coverage of the growing momentum of this year’s judicial accountability movement) differs remarkably from that of other media (print or broadcast) around the state.
For instance, many media outlets around the state noted the role of the Colorado Supreme Court in enabling the “Dirty Dozen” tax increases – from the Fort Collins Coloradoan up north (”Citizens should get to vote on taxes“) to the Pueblo Chieftain in the south (“Clear the Bench” editorial published March 1st), in the mountains (Summit Daily News – ”Smaller government = more power to the people“) and the southwestern corner of the state (Durango Herald, “State lawmakers battle it out over tax breaks“) – but you couldn’t “read it in the Post.”
Interested in how the Colorado Supreme Court will influence how you are represented in Congress and the General Assembly by shaping legislative districts? How about the legislature’s move to abdicate their constitutional responsibility and give even more power to the courts with the “Mary-mandering” bill at the close of the session? You could get informed by reading other newspapers around the state (“Chief justice wields clout over reapportionment”), listening to radio (here, for example), and perusing coverage by a host of other media outlets – but again, hardly a peep from the Post.
Even the Post’s coverage of the recent announcement by Chief Justice Mullarkey that she would retire rather than be held accountable by Colorado voters – in which a majority of media noted that her decision to retire was likely influenced, if not precipitated outright, by the existence of the judicial accountability movement spearheaded by Clear The Bench Colorado – only contained an oblique reference to the existence of “a vigorous campaign by critics to persuade voters not to retain her on the court in November.” No further information or name of the organization provided, of course (what am I, Voldemort?)
Most recently, the Post published a defense of Chief Justice Mullarkey (and incumbent judges in general) against any criticism or independent review of their performance outside of the lawyer-and-political-insider-dominated Judicial Performance Review Commission (“Criticism of retiring Judge (sic) Mullarkey unfair”). Attacking the very idea that the judiciary – particularly Colorado Supreme Court justices – may be held accountable by the citizens on who’s behalf they supposedly hold office, the guest commentary published by the Post runs contrary to the spirit of transparency and accountability at the core of our system of democratic, representative government. Despite a strong response from a number of comments and letters to the editor in opposition to the thrust of the piece, the Post had rebuffed our request for a rebuttal article (indeed, not responding at all to several communications).
Until today – when, following publication of the article raising the issue of the appearance of a conflict of interest, the Post informed me that they would be publishing my (short and limited in space) response (originally submitted over two weeks ago) this coming Friday.
We The People can (indeed, as citizens, we must) hold our public officials – both elected and appointed – accountable. Be a citizen, not a subject – get informed, then exercise your right to vote “NO” this November on the four (er, three remaining) ‘unjust justices’ of the Colorado Supreme Court’s “Mullarkey Majority”- (Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice – recently minus Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your home or business against seizure via eminent domain abuse, your right to be fairly represented in the legislature and Congress, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering under rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.” Continue to support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and your contributions – and vote “NO” on giving these unjust justices another 10-year term!